Published: 26th February 2018
Fat or thin, dark or fair, clear or scarred: Here's why you should love your body
Everybody deserves to be loved and that's exactly what dancer and educator Shabari Rao aims to convey through her performances
I am from a dance background. As a dancer, a lot of my work is based on bodies. My body. Others’ bodies. The thing I notice most is how so many of us consider our bodies as a problem or at least a project that needs to be worked on and improved.
This is in sharper focus when you are a dancer because your body is your primary tool. And this sense of never being good enough never leaves you. There is always that irritating pain in your knee, that extra tyre around the waist that keeps threatening to show up, the tightness on the hips that just will not go.
There is always something to complain about — something about your body that is getting in the way of you living your life as you deserve to! The beauty industry, the medical industry, the fitness industry and the entertainment industry are all constantly telling us that our bodies are just not good enough.
And yet, the one fundamental asset that we are all born with and have with us until we die is our body. The primary way in which we inhabit and make sense of this world is through our body. Then, shouldn’t we be gentler in our judgment of our body and embrace it for the wealth and intelligence it offers?
The way I approach dance now is to invite the people I work with, to become friends with their body. Dance to me, is a way to engage with the body as a creative, aesthetic and expressive element. And therefore, the body is no longer an object, but a resource; and performance is no longer a display, but an investigation.
(Shabari Rao is a performance maker, educator and researcher. Her research area lies at the intersection of body, art making and learning)